Friday, January 31, 2014

Little Boy Lost...and Found

At four he was abandoned. Today he is cherished.  Such a life he has.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Thursday, January 30, 2014


I just can't imagine looking out of only two eyes...

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Sunday, January 26, 2014

O Frabjous Day

Yesterday we joined Hospice. 

v wants to be able to rest, to be home, to enjoy the company of friends and not the company of medical equipment.  It is understood that he can change his mind at any time if he feels he is gaining strength. 

v loves, and is loved by, so many people.  We couldn't manage this anywhere nearly as well as we are, so far, without the outpouring of love we are receiving. I can only say Thank You, but it really doesn't begin to cover how we feel.

It's just good to be home.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Each Day...

It's up and down around here.

Yesterday was such a good day. v awoke smiling and wanted to go for a ride. After lunch, when he still felt like getting out, we set out.  Now it's the three of us;  him, me, and the oxygen tank (portable).  We drive a New Beetle, so the portable tank almost needs a child's seat in the back. We belt it in and take off for points known.

Yesterday it was spotting a whale just off shore in Pacific Grove (bay side), watching people running along the recreation path, and stopping to pick up some really good clam chowder at Vivolo's on Central. Such tender clams...

Such a magical place to live.  We can pull to the side of the road and watch giants only a few feet away breathing the same air that we breath.  Watching the surface of the water and imagining what passes beneath. Oh, we saw one of the other giants too, the Elephant Seal who hangs with the Harbor Seals at Hopkin's Cove.  He's grown!

 Home feels good too.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Box Full of Love

v is home.  Five days in the hospital, no matter how great that hospital is, can take a toll on someone and v is no exception.  He's weak and sometimes breathless, but he is not beaten down.  He's getting a little stronger.  His most notable improvement occurred last night after a visit from our friend and shift captain from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  She arrived with a beautiful box full of cards, gifts, hand made candies, a book and other tokens of love and encouragement including a beautifully "translated" message from the sea stars themselves, and with the gift of her time and company. I'm afraid my lens just can't contain it all in one shot. It's difficult for us to contain it all in our hearts!

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Audition

Auditions for table dressing.  A new project for v and me when he gets home, which may be today!!!  Timing will be delicate as there is a football game this afternoon that he really, really wants to see...and we don't have a TV!  He has loads of invitations.  He can view each quarter from a different recliner, armchair, or sofa if he wants.  Or, he might be able to wait 'til after the game to come home.  I think I know a place...

Thank goodness we discovered last year that the Superbowl is streamed live on the computer.  He can be bundled up with his treats and watch here while I can be elsewhere in the house (or garden if the weather holds) doing non-football stuff.  And he can wear his jammies if he wants.

You know, I want to clarify why this blog even exists: it was created at the suggestion of an old, old friend who found me after a fifteen year loss of contact.  So much had changed; her address, she moved to Georgia! me; my name and address, and she found me!  The internet happened while we were silent, email, and this blog stuff.  Trying to send photos to her was causing problems with the emails so she, a woman who never learned to drive, encouraged me to start a blog so I could load up (gee, I guess that would be upload!) photos of my life and share with her.  I just couldn't do Facebook, I'm not that into reconnections. So here we are.  I am fascinated that a woman who has never turned a steering wheel can negotiate, and guide me through, the technical confusion of computer communications.

It's turned out to be a great way to keep our friends at the aquarium updated on v's condition.  I have been so surprised to hear various of our shift mates say, "oh, I read that on your blog"! Well knock me down with a feather!  Welcome all of you who are reading this.  I miss you and I miss the aquarium, in that order.  I'm really hoping to be back soon.  And v wants to visit again also, even though he ended up in the hospital shortly after the last time, it really gives him such an energy boost.

Oh, and just because I love seeing photos from France (especially Paris) since I can't get there:
check out the Valerie Jardin link to the right. She just posted a number of beautiful scenes.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Room With A View

v is in the hospital.  It was a far more difficult process than I would have believed. If he wasn't already dialed into the medical establishment I'd have just taken him to ER and been done with it.  In the end, that's what had to happen.  We just couldn't wait for the number of days it was going to be before the doctor would see him for his fevers, shortness of breath, and anemia. With the help of the nurse practitioner at the radiation clinic he was taken to the ER and assessed and admitted.

The debate is now about whether his symptoms are there because he's severely anemic, dehydrated, and has a lung infection, or is it simply that the cancer in his lungs has worsened. All of the above appear to be true.  He's on IV fluids. He's being bombarded with antibiotics. He's on oxygen. He's receiving medication for breathing and breathing treatments.  His oncologist has begun iron infusions to stimulate his bone marrow into producing red blood cells. However, now that v is hydrated his anemia appears even more severe (and I'm thinking the indication for infection has decreased--but I'm not a doctor).  This all has to do with concentration and dilution. Maybe too simple.  We grasp at any straws.

The palliative team has already been in to try to nudge us into making the "tough decisions".  We appreciate what they have to say.  But, it was incredibly tough to get someone just to make the decision to assess and then admit him. v and I both know that his cancer is not going to be cured, we understand. However, even a man with a grave disease can get sick apart from that disease.  The old phrase "even paranoids have enemies" has popped into my mind several times over the past weeks.

What we have in abundance is friends who support us, keep our spirits up, remind us that we are not alone. We are amazed at the love we have surrounding us.  We are truly, truly blessed.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Field Trip

Today was good.  Despite not feeling so hot, v agreed to go with me to the Monterey Bay Aquarium this afternoon to visit with our shift mates.  Tuesday 2nd: what a great group of people we found ourselves involved with when we started volunteering back in 2011.  We have received so much support through emails, cards, phone calls, and visits.  Thank you, all of you, for such caring and consideration.

We spent nearly two hours visiting friends and visiting favorite spots within the aquarium.  Just to let you know: the aquarium has wheelchairs to loan to folks like v who don't have the energy to walk throughout that big place.  The floors are concrete, really pretty but not the most comfortable for long periods of time. Another note: if you do borrow a wheelchair, you might want a cushion of some sort...

Update: the radiation continues. Four more scheduled treatments.  He's finally gained some weight, nearly two pounds.  That is thanks to a Peanut Butter Moo'd from Jamba Juice after each treatment, and the delicious gift from one of our shift mates who brought us a big pot of delicious, and rich, soup over the weekend and the recipe and fixings for zucchini pancakes!  Really good stuff!!! We also may be seeing some relief of his back pain, but oh the fatigue caused by the radiation! It was a true tour d'force for him today, but he did so well. The blessings of friendship.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Friday, January 10, 2014


Tonight we made marmalade.  Well, I did anyway. v kept me company sitting in the rocker in the corner of the kitchen. He and the cats listened to music and watched me stir, fill, and process.  It's so satisfying, you know?  Two years ago my "sewing day" friend and I took a marmalade workshop at Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove.  It was a fun class and we've been making marmalade, jam, jellies, and pickles ever since.  I love that little independent shop. It's very close to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Everything but our house is close to the aquarium!

The radiation is moving forward.  They informed us that they are radiating not only the tumor that is "eating" a piece of his spine, but that there is another, low down in his right lung that is "eating" (this is their word) into his chest wall. Well, gee, that didn't sound so good. They assured us that they are attacking the tumor in the lung also. A bone scan was done Thursday. You know, sometimes you just feel like you've been strapped to the healthcare conveyer belt.  We looked at each other when we got home and we both said "I don't want to know!"  Well, it was all right, because it came out negative. Ah! But still, it's almost a case of "so, anyway, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"

And, I thank you, our friends who offer their kindnesses and support.  You all brighten our days and keep us above despair.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Another Blow

The latest on v is not so good. He's been suffering a lot of severe back pain that was thought to be sciatica.  As it turns out with his latest CT scan, it's from a new tumor next to his spine which is affecting the adjacent vertebra.  He'll be starting radiation treatments on Thursday and his chemotherapy is on hold for now.  

We just find ourselves so thankful that we have each other and that we have such dear and loving friends.  Good people sustain us.

In bocca al lupo. m & v